A flea can bite the bottom of the Pope in Rome

I’m a bit late posting today because I awoke to excruciating, razor-wire pain in my right eye, and finally found an opthamologist who could squeeze me in for an emergency appointment. By the time I stumbled into his office, I couldn’t even open the eye without crying out. He expertly administered “magic” eyedrops that numbed the pain, expertly scrutinized every surface of my eye, then laughed when he finally found the culprit: a tiny speck of eyelash that had somehow splintered, gotten stuck inside my eyelid with its two sharp points facing the eye itself, and scraped my cornea all morning long. “The damage is shocking – but you’ll be ok tomorrow,” he said, contemplating the speck at the end of his tweezers as I sighed in relief and mentally prepared a shrine in his honor where I will now light a candle in gratitude each day.

Costa Rican superstition holds that the first 12 days of the calendar year reflect the weather we can expect for the 12 months of the year. For example, today corresponds to August, which will apparently start out sunny and then turn into foreboding gray. Of course, the weather in Costa Rica, once extremely reliable – months without rain, months with afternoon rainshowers you could practically set your clock by, months with rain throughout the day – is now much less predictable. Different factors converge to make this happen, but the climate crisis is one of them. These are unsettling times in which to live, in which to raise a child.

Perhaps that’s the understatement of this very young year, as war looms and Australia burns.

There’s not much of a boost in here, except to say that if I learned anything this morning, it’s that tiny things can make a big difference. A worm can roll a stone. A bee can sting a bear. A teeny fragment of an eyelash can completely sideline us from life. A little country can make a difference – that’s the idea I’m betting my life on.

The cloudy skies outside my window that I’m contemplating with one eye can’t tell me what August will bring, and no one can tell us what this year will bring. All I can do, at least for today, is be grateful for kindly opthalmologists, and raise my afternoon coffee to uncertain times in which tiny things can change our course completely: for worse, but also for better.

I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook! You can also find me churning out small, square poems on any topic under the sun (here on the site, on Instagram or Twitter). 


4 thoughts on “A flea can bite the bottom of the Pope in Rome

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s